IWD 2019: Celebrating my everyday heroes

In the lead up to International Women's Day 2019, Ghanaian doctor, lecturer and advocate, Dr Dzifa Dey, celebrates the strength and resilience of ordinary African women.   

For International Women's Day I would like to celebrate the strength and resilience of the ordinary African woman.

The African woman who despite her own lack of opportunities pushes the next generation to succeed. The everyday woman who puts others before herself, ensuring they succeed and she more than ever makes great sacrifices for them.

The everyday women who allow others to become great.

The everyday women who allow others to become great.

Dr Dzifa Dey, head of rheumatology at the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Korle-bu Teaching Hospital

My mother Bridget is one such woman. After losing both parents at a young age she decided to drop out of school to work and take responsibility for her younger siblings. She will ensure that each and every one of them will graduate, and will eventually pursue her ambition of being a psychiatric nurse. 

This care she extended not only to us her children, but also ensured her nieces and nephews were pulled up by the boot straps to make it. She teaches me never to give up. She taught me to sacrifice. She is my hero every day.

The grandmother who made sure her son would go to the 'big school' Achimota by any means necessary. She sold shallots in the market for years gathering enough money to send her son to the big school to become a diplomat. She taught me to have a vision. She is my everyday Woman.

The mother-in-law Olivia, the matriarch, who held the family together when times were tough. She extended this care to her grandchildren as well. I could go to study in the UK knowing she was keeping an eye over my family. She taught me the importance of family. She is my everyday hero.

I celebrate all women who are the wind in our sails

Dr Dzifa Dey, head of rheumatology at the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Korle-bu Teaching Hospital

My sister Kafui who, as she worked to complete her schooling, ensured that whatever money she earned on the side was given to me so I won’t want for anything allowing me focus on my studies. She taught me that a little help can make a huge difference. She is my everyday hero.

The ordinary African woman inspires me every day, because she doesn't give up. She aspires for greater heights for the next generation even if it means sacrificing her needs and dreams. She works tirelessly because she knows the next generation must definitely be better than the previous one.

I celebrate all women who are the wind in our sails.

Dr Dzifa Dey is a consultant physician and head of rheumatology at the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics of the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital. She is the founder and director of rheumatology initiative tRi, a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing education, advocacy and research into autoimmune rheumatic conditions.

This blog is part of a week-long series celebrating women in medicine and their inspirations, as part of International Women's Day.